U.S. military leadership has carefully examined the implications of UNCLOS and have endorsed ratification
[ Page 9-10 ]
Conservative political factions are not in favor of working in cooperation with United Nations (parent organization of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Furthermore, they do not want the United States to subject itself to international tribunals have effectively prevented U.S. accession to UNLCOS. But UNCLOS accession is supported from all the military service chiefs and the Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs, who have traditionally been highly selective with respect to treaties and how they potentially affect U.S. service members. For example, they expressed concern over the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) because it was believed to place U.S. personnel at risk for trial by an international tribunal. But this is not true for UNCLOS because the service chiefs believe UNCLOS will support, rather than thwart, U.S. operations.22 As the principal force behind the negotiation of UNCLOS in Montego Bay back in 1982, the treaty encompasses everything the U.S. military wants, and is not the “bogey man.”
Top defense officials, including the current and all former Chiefs of Naval Operations, have lined up to publicly support U.S. accession to UNCLOS. In addition, the Defense Department has repeatedly endorsed ratification in numerous studies and planning documents.